Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Heaven is...

- Snuggling under a blanket with a sleepy, soft, warm and fragrant toddler on a cold, wet afternoon.
- Falling into a long, deep and unplanned sleep, holding the toddler, and the toddler holding you.
- Waking up suddenly, and realizing that the unexpected nap has refreshed and rejuvenated you, rather than making you grouchy and cranky as such naps tend to.
- Realizing, lying there, that a pair of bright, shining, smiling eyes is watching you, two inches from your face, and a small, soft hand is patting your cheek and stroking your hair.

My heart is full.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Puttachi at 2 years and 4 months.

New kind of questions that I cannot answer:

She: *pointing to a picture* Amma, is this tiger crying?
Me: No, it is not.
She: Why is it not crying?

She: Amma, are your spectacles broken?
Me: No, they are not.
She: Why are they not broken?

I wonder if there is something deeper behind those questions!


She wants to know who everybody's mother is. Including animals, ants, plants, even stars. But to test her, if I ask her who is the chair's mother, for instance, she answers haughtily that chairs don't have mothers.


She: Amma, I want the moon.
Me: Huh?
She: The moon. Please get the moon for me.
Me: How shall I get it?
She: Go to the sky, and bring it down.
Me: What will you do with it?
She: *makes a gesture of rocking a ball* I will play with it.

Kids these days, I tell you - they ask for the moon!


She loves dressing up. Her favourite past-time is putting on clothes. One on top of another. Drop in on a surprise visit, and you can see her dressed in various articles of clothing from socks to gloves to mufflers and bibs and scarves and pyjamas and sweaters and caps and necklaces and bracelets and ribbons and clips - ALL AT THE SAME TIME. She has a particular fascination for articles of clothing that she can no longer fit into. If you need her to wear something, tell her that she used to wear it as a child!


She has discovered a sense of humour. She gets a huge kick out of inserting her own words in familiar rhymes or stories. For example, she says, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Amma!" Then pauses for effect, before bursting into helpless laughter. She can and does do this all day. Or twists a word, or puts in a nonsense word, or puts in an extra word into songs, and enjoys the joke immensely. She loves it even more if I join in and add my own nonsense words.


I had read so much about kids being afraid of monsters under the bed or in the closet, and I had never paid too much attention to it, because of a vague observation that no kid I knew seemed to have such fears. But yesterday, while I was putting Puttachi to bed, she got up abruptly from her crib, and crept towards my bed (which is attached to her crib).

Me: What happened, Puttachi?
She: *pointing towards the other side of the crib* Shoorpanakha (a demoness) is sitting there.

In the articles that spoke about this fear, I had understood that the response to this should not be something like, "Where? There is nothing there, dear, see? Go to sleep." Apparently, it not only trivializes the child's fears, but also does nothing to remove the fear. Kids at this age have such an active imagination that they truly believe that a demon or monster or a scary being is sitting there. So I employed this approach.

Me: Oh, Shoorpanakha? *looking at where Puttachi was pointing* Hey Shoorpanakha, what is wrong with you? Why do you want to disturb Puttachi when she is trying to sleep? Do you know how strong she is? Go, go, go away, don't come back! *Looking back at Puttachi* See, Shoorpanakha got scared! She is flying out of the window!
And that was enough for her. Puttachi smiled triumphantly and went back to bed.


Speaking about imagination, Puttachi's is in overdrive. She gets so immersed in play-acting that there is nothing one can do when she is involved in it. Nothing can break her concentration, and she forgets hunger, sleep, and sometimes, she can't even hear nature's call! She burst into horrified tears when I accidentally sat on a "baby" that she had placed on the sofa, and she looked on with pride when I picked and ate "fruits" from a "tree" that she had watered and grown.

Even her dreams seem to be pretty graphic. Yesterday she woke up in the middle of her nap, told me something in garbled diction, and then laboriously dusted her pillow for two minutes before she fell asleep again. She wakes up sometimes, telling me something seriously about someone or something, and then handing over "something" to me before going back to sleep.

I find it utterly fascinating to wonder what goes on in that head of hers!


She is a fun child, and a funny child. And backbreaking as it might be caring for her, there never is a dull moment.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

To travel without an itinerary - and Books

When I was younger, and was at that age and stage where I was convinced that I would one day hold the world in the palm of my hand, I dreamed of just setting out with a backpack and going around the world as my fancy took me. I would visit one place, and then go to the bus/railway station/airport, look at all the destinations, and take off to whichever destination caught my eye. And I would stay there as long as I wanted to before taking off yet again.

This dream hasn't died yet - it has just been put on the back burner, the die hard optimist that I am. I am now reading a travel book, by Bill Bryson, called "Neither here nor there" about his travels in Europe, in which this is exactly what he does. Goes where his impulse takes him. He starts off with going to the northernmost part of Norway to see the Northern Lights - one of my greatest ambitions too. And oh, I have been travelling with Bryson in a way that I hadn't employed before. When he talks about a city, or a building or a museum, I immediately look it up on Google, and view the pics and read more about it, and there you go - I am travelling too!

By the way, before reading this book, I read one more book of his, "Mother Tongue", where Bryson traces the development of the English language, what influenced it, and how it came to be as we know it now. And with that, I understand most of the idiosyncrasies of the language. The illogical spellings, the weird pronunciations, etc. Inspired, I asked my grandfather in Mysore for a similar book in Kannada, and he gave me one to read, a part of "Kannada Kaipidi" series by Kuvempu. That was fascinating too, but I had to stop in the middle. I am looking forward to continuing on my next visit to Mysore.

While on the subject of books, I was recently introduced to the works of L.M.Montgomery by my friend M, who also fed and fanned my urge to read more and more of them. I absolutely love discovering new (to me!) writers.

Another fascinating book I read was "Survival of the Sickest" by Sharon Moalem. I recommend it.

Ah, books and travelling - if only I had a million dollars......

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A wedding on the cards?

I am telling Puttachi the story of little Shruthi and little S~, and their exploits, and how they grew up and got married and got a little baby. I have reached the point where Shruthi and S~ have got married.

Puttachi: Papa and you got married?
Me: Yes, Puttachi.
She: Like X and Y?
Me: Yes, dear.
She stares off into space, and I allow her to digest the information or try and visualize the scene or however it is that two-year-olds process shocking information.
After a while.
She: Amma, but I did not attend!
Me: Yes, mari, you were not born yet.
She: (getting teary-eyed) But Amma, I want to attend!
Me: But the wedding is over, baby, wait, I will show you the snaps.
She: I don't want to see the snaps, I want to go to your wedding! (She stands up and pulls my hand) Amma, take me to yours and Papa's wedding!

What say, S~, time to renew our vows? A good reason to go on a second honeymoon, at least! :D
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